Like most Mississippians, our menus take a turn during the summer months. Fresh vegetables abound in our area. I literally haunt the local farmers’ markets in late May and early June waiting for the first fresh tomatoes to arrive, not greenhouse tomatoes. I’m talking about fresh, grown in the dirt of Mississippi, tomatoes. The taste is distinct and like none other. We’ve been making this spread so long, I can’t even remember its origin. It’s light, refreshing, and it screams summer. I’ll make it several times during the season because I usually have all the ingredients on hand. Add it to your next Friday Night Porch Party.
Fresh Tomato and Basil Spread
1, 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 large fresh tomato, diced as small as you can
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (The kind in the green jar is fine.)
Fresh basil, cut into ribbons
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Salt and pepper
A few hours before serving, combine the diced tomato, Italian dressing, and salt and pepper in a zip lock bag to marinate. Spread the cream cheese out on your serving plate to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Sprinkle the top of the cream cheese with the garlic salt. Drain the tomatoes and spread them over the cream cheese. Add the parmesan, and then the basil. I usually finish it off with black pepper. Serve with any cracker, but I typically use Wheat Thins.